Save energy while saving water
Here are a few ways to save water, and at the same time save on your electric bill.
- Repair any dripping faucets promptly
- Install water saving devices such as low-flow shower heads and aerators on faucets
- Shorten your showers by just two minutes from your normal duration- it makes a difference!
- Use the air-dry setting on your dishwasher
Note that water conservation is important during the summer, even if you are on catchment. If drought conditions exist, water levels could drop, which may create an emergency situation.
Save loads on laundry
Wash all loads in cold water. Thanks to the effectiveness of modern laundry detergents you no longer need to use hot water in order to get your clothes clean. Studies have found that washing your clothes in cold gets them just as clean as washing in hot. The electricity savings of washing in cold vs. hot is substantial.
You should also wash full loads (but not overfilled). Even though your washing machine may have different settings that will control the amount of water it uses, it will still use close to the same amount of energy regardless of how much your washing.
Part of the wisdom in not overfilling your washer is to not overfill your dryer. The dryer is designed to take care of a normal size load. If you have to run an extra cycle to fully dry a jumbo load, it will double the energy use. Also, clean the filter after each use to maintain efficiency. You should check the dryer vent hose at least annually, especially in a rental where lint filters may not be cleaned diligently.
If you live in a condo, you likely cannot line dry clothes outside, but a stylish, wall-mounted collapsible drying rack can fit just about anywhere indoors.
Be Kind to Your Refrigerator/Freezer
Many people ignore maintenance on their refrigerator until there is a problem. Before warmer weather sets in, do a little maintenance. Dust off the coils or filters and checking the rubber seals on the door. This will help the unit’s efficiency and may extend its lifespan.
Your fridge will run more efficiently in hot weather if you avoid opening it too often. Your food will also stay fresher longer. Think through all the ingredients you need to pull out, then gather them back up to put away. Don’t set the temperature colder than necessary- between 36 F and 42 F is ideal. Set the freezer control between -5 F and +6 F. You can pick up a two pack of thermometers designed for your fridge and freezer at Target for about $8.
When it comes time to buy a new fridge, make sure it has the ENERGY STAR® label to save on utility costs.
Update Your Water Heater
Your home’s largest energy consumer is your electric water heater. When you switch to more energy-efficient options, you can save up to 40% on your electric bill. The heater should be set to 120 F for optimum efficiency.
Another option is to go solar. Even if you cannot budget or do not have the right structure for whole home solar, installing a small system just for hot water heating can be done in smaller spaces and much more affordably.
Currently, the federal government provides a 30% tax credit on solar hot water systems. The state of Hawaii gives a 35% tax credit. Combined, these incentives can take care of roughly two-thirds the cost of the system. A solar contractor on Maui will guide you step-by-step on how to capitalize on these generous limited time tax credits.
If you are still using traditional incandescent bulbs, you are adding to the heat of your home and reducing energy efficiency. Plus, these types of bulbs are being phased out, so now is a good time to switch over to cool and efficient LEDs. This is a change you can make right now, and start saving!
Plan for a Cool Summer
According to research compiled by Healthline.com, getting overheated and suffering from even mild dehydration can cause bad moods, headaches and lack of concentration. So plan to stay cool and drink plenty of water. You can also take cool showers or baths, limit strenuous activity, and avoid using your oven or stove if possible.
When cooling with air conditioners, make sure all doors and windows are closed and curtains are drawn for greater operating efficiency. Use ceiling fans on low to circulate cold air, even while the AC is running.
No AC? Open windows or doors on opposite sides of your home and place a fan to draw a cooling breeze in next to one, and a fan facing out on the opposite side to push warm air out on the other. Easy breezy!